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First responders advise caution when out on the ice

Posted at 5:00 AM, Jan 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-16 17:39:56-05

HELENA – First responders are warning people to take extra care when out on frozen lakes after conditions have lead to unsafe ice in some places.

Lewis and Clark Search and Rescue advises people to be diligent about checking the thickness and quality of ice before going ice fishing.

Bringing an ice spud bar or an auger to test the ice ahead of you is recommended along with having a rope that can be thrown to another should they fall in.

Wearing a life jacket or another type of flotation device is advised for people and any pets out on frozen water.

“When an animal falls through the ice, people often try to go rescue them themselves and then they end up getting into trouble,” said ice rescue trainer Stacy Schmidt with Lewis and Clark Search and Rescue.

Schmidt cautioned that any fall through the ice is dangerous but people should take particular caution around areas that have a current.

“Currents can be very dangerous on ice,” said Schmidt. “Where the current is the ice is going to be much thinner, but also should you fall through that current can move you away from that hole.”

Schmidt added that checking the weather and local reports is always a good idea before venturing out on any type of ice.

The Broadwater Lions Club had to cancel their Perch Derby scheduled for later in January due to unsafe ice conditions on Canyon Ferry.

For more information about Lewis and Clark Search and Rescue, visit their website here.

Story by John Riley, MTN News